Walking down Kensington Church Street in London, I caught sight of an electric blue chair in the shop window of the furniture store Jimmie Martin. The words “Your Imperfection Turns Me On” emblazoned across it in bright orange got my attention.
It made me think about how we typically deal with what we perceive as another’s imperfections. Working with couples in therapy it’s very obvious that many spend inordinate amounts of time pointing the finger at the other, waiting for their partners to change. Whilst we’ve probably all done our fair share of this, hopefully sooner rather than later we realize that it just doesn’t work.
The relationships that I’ve seen transform somewhat miraculously are the ones where somebody suddenly gets it! They start to see relationship as a spiritual path; they stop waiting to be loved, stop waiting for the other to act differently and start accepting the other person as they are. The results can be breathtaking. Which doesn’t mean that we should put up with being treated poorly or that all relationships will turn into happily ever after fairytale stories. What it does mean is that it feels liberating to stop wishing somebody was different to how they are and that it seems more than a coincidence that people often do change, right around the time we’ve finally come to accept them with their flaws.
The more we can embrace our own imperfections – which may mean letting go of fantasies about one day being the all-perfect, thin, successful, attractive, intelligent, talented one who “made it” – the easier it becomes to love another as they are. In fact a strange sort of beauty often accompanies the vulnerability of imperfection.
When we’ve made peace with the messiness of being human ourselves, our heart melts with compassion when we see it in others. And yes, on occasion, those imperfections may even turn us on…